WildBlueViaSat , a California based producer of satellite and wireless communication systems, is acquiring WildBlue Communications Inc. for $568 million. ViaSat says the new “combination sets the stage for accelerated growth and expansion of the WildBlue broadband service using ViaSat next generation network technology, featuring the high-capacity ViaSat-1 satellite scheduled to launch in early 2011,” in a company release.

WildBlue has about 400K satellite broadband subscribers serving primarily rural markets. NRTC was an early investor and is a key distributor of the service through their electric and telco members. NRTC and other WildBlue investors are expected to become shareholders in ViaSat.

WildBlue has had some capacity issues which have limited its growth. ViaSat says that issue will be addressed through the 2011 launch of ViaSat-1, its upcoming high capacity satellite. ViaSat-1 is “…is expected to multiply WildBlue total network capacity by more than tenfold, and by a factor of over 20 in those areas with the highest demand at a fraction of its current bandwidth costs,” says ViaSat in a press release.